International Man: The Lancet recently retracted an anti-hydroxychloroquine study, which the media had used to attack Trump.
Trump had admitted to taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against the coronavirus. The media then went into a frenzy. The talking heads often cited The Lancet study as proof hydroxychloroquine was dangerous.
The bottom line is that bogus research made its way—likely deliberately—into one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. People then used this “science” as a political weapon.
Doug Casey: I’d say the whole charade is tragic, except that “tragic” has become the most overused word in the language today. It bears a short discussion.
Look at the recent death of a small-time career criminal, George Floyd. It’s as if “tragic” were part of his name. It’s as if people no longer understand the meaning of the word. A tragedy used to mean that a heroic protagonist succumbed to a cosmic force. There are no heroes in the degraded melodrama, just villains, where a costumed thug murdered a street thug under the color of law.
Sorry to go off on a tangent. But it’s a timely instance of another word whose meaning has been twisted. It’s Orwellian, like so many other things in our devolving society.
Let’s talk about something that’s actually tragic: the corruption of science over the last couple of generations.
I’ve subscribed to Scientific American, Discover, and New Scientist for many years. During this time, I’ve noticed a distinct change in their respective editorial policies. They’ve all been politicized, captured by the PC left. These popular magazines are nowhere near the quality they once were. But this is just symptomatic of a bigger problem.
You might recall the 2018 hoax where three academics, disgusted with widespread incompetence and dishonesty in research, submitted absurd “spoof” papers to twenty leading journals. They were written in gobbledygook, full of made-up facts and flawed reasoning. But most, as I recall, were peer-reviewed and published.
If you research the subject a bit, you come to the conclusion half the peer-reviewed papers—absolutely in “soft” fields like psychology, sociology, political science, race and gender studies, etc.—are unreadable, dishonest, useless, and pointless.
Why might this be? If an academic wants to advance in today’s university system, he has to publish research. It’s Pareto’s Law in action, the 80–20 rule. It’s pretty reliable, 80% of this sort of thing is crap because it’s written mainly to fabricate credentials, not advance knowledge.
This is a bad thing.
It’s causing the average guy, who may not know anything about science but still has some respect for it, to lose that respect. That’s because science has become politicized.
You can see it with the conflicting information about COVID-19. Is it deadly or just another seasonal flu? Does it affect everyone, like the black death, or mainly the old and sick? Does almost everyone who contracts the virus get very sick or die or only a tiny percentage? Should you quarantine or live normally?
So far, as near as I can tell, the great virus hysteria has gone from being the next black plague to basically a big nothing. It’s not nearly as bad as the Asian Flu from the 50s or the Hong Kong Flu from the 60s. Forget about the Spanish Flu—there’s no comparison whatsoever. The main effect of COVID isn’t medical; it’s the hysteria that’s destroyed the economy. And political actions are even more insane than those after 9/11.
Politics thrives on hysteria. The politicization of everything is the real problem. And it’s not just about the total disruption of society and multitrillion-dollar deficits. For instance, I’ve played poker with a bunch of guys in Aspen every Monday night for years. Now, even though the lockdown in town is easing, the group is breaking up because most of them insist that everyone wear a mask. I won’t, nor will a couple of other guys. So, between that and a few guys who are now scared to socialize no matter what … game over. It may also mean the end of a larger Friday business lunch group I belong to that’s been around for decades.
There are millions of similar small rips in the social fabric taking place everywhere now. And they’re largely justified by “the science.”
The real problem is that the knock-on effects of the virus will last much, much longer than the trivial virus itself—which will soon burn out and be forgotten. The political, economic, and social changes, however, will linger for years, as will attitudes toward “science.”
International Man: What are the implications of people corrupting the scientific process to launder their political propaganda to shape mainstream opinions?
Doug Casey: You might think this is a new thing, but the left, in particular—who have always been advocates of social engineering— love using “science” to further their political agenda.
The first important instance of this was Karl Marx and his notion of “scientific socialism”—a totally bogus idea.
Since he first promoted it over 150 years ago, the concept has become ingrained in the culture, especially academia. People have been taught to believe there’s such a thing as “scientific socialism,” and that it’s not just inevitable, but desirable. In fact, it’s pseudoscience. But that’s just the first example of corruption of science in modern times.
Keynesianism is another example. Keynesians believe that they can manipulate the economy as if it were a machine.
A machine is a horrible analogy for the economy, however. It’s not a machine or a factory where you can pull levers to make magic happen—which is precisely what the Keynesians (who run the economic world today) think they can do.
The economy is more like a rainforest, which is very complex. It can’t be manipulated from outside by apparatchiks enforcing rules. And if you do try to manipulate a rainforest from outside, you’re likely to destroy it.
Keynesianism is a perfect example of scientism (that’s the use of the vocabulary and trappings of science for inappropriate subjects). You can see scientism used everywhere in the humanities and “soft” sciences. This is usually to legitimize some type of state intervention.
Sociology and psychology are basically about social engineering. They’re not generally scientific so much as scientistic. They often try to put a scientific patina on forcing people to interact with each other in prescribed ways.
But it goes way beyond just sociology and psychology. English departments are notorious for using leftist literary works to insinuate certain ideas in students. Economics departments use arcane math formulas to describe human action—pure scientism, with lots of ideological baggage. Marx himself was primarily a historian. Many college degrees today are completely bogus and worthless. An example? There are degrees in gender studies.
The trend is way out of control. Ridiculous scientific concepts that started with Marx are everywhere.
The same people—by that, I mean those with Marxist, socialist, and Keynesian outlooks—are behind the global warming frenzy, which is full of pseudoscience, fudged numbers, and bogus statistics.
The latest manifestation of all this, of course, is the COVID hysteria.
But behind it all is state funding of science—Big Science. It started in earnest after World War II.
Government funding is authorized by politicians. They make decisions for political reasons. In order to qualify, you have to come up with results that are politically acceptable, which itself is the best reason for not having any government funding.
But some might ask: Without the government, where would Big Science get the billions needed for giant projects?
In fact, most of the capital that goes into scientific research from the state would still go into science; knowledge has value. But money would be allocated economically, not politically, thereby creating more wealth—much more than today, when much is wasted on politically caused boondoggles. Most government science spending is necessarily misallocated.
The increasingly political nature of science funding has served to discredit the idea of science itself.
International Man: The Democrats liken themselves as the so-called “Party of Science.” What do you think?
Doug Casey: It’s nonsense, but it’s very clever marketing on their part.
They get away with it because the Republicans are basically the party of business. And more importantly, the people who vote Republican tend to be traditionalist and religion-oriented.
That’s a problem because scientific thinkers tend to see religion as irrelevant, dangerous, or even laughable—at best, as an inaccurate or bogus way to describe the world.
Democrats, on the other hand, are notoriously secular and non-religious. Coincidentally, so are most scientists. That’s resulted in some unfortunate confusion. Democrats, illogically, seem to believe that just because they’re secular, they must be scientific.
The fact is, however, that the Democrats are not the party of science.
In fact, they’re the party of pseudoscience, bogus science, and scientism. Science doesn’t mix well with politics—or religion.
But Democrats are clever marketers, linking themselves with science to differentiate themselves from Republicans, the party of tradition and religion.
When you think about tradition and religion, it can bring to mind flat earth theories, geocentric astronomy, Torquemada, the persecution of Galileo, and witch trials. Democrats love to paint themselves as rational advanced thinkers and Republicans as superstitious atavists.
Of course, religion and science have been at each other’s throats forever. Another reason I’ve always said the Dems are more the evil party and the Reps more the stupid party. But a pox on both their houses…
International Man: Events like this seem to be a prime reason why a growing number of people are losing confidence in previously credible institutions and the self-anointed “experts.”
What does this mean?
Doug Casey: Tens of millions now have college degrees that they think mean something. In fact, they’re worth less than a high school diploma was before World War 2. People go on to get PhDs, which, it’s always been said, stands for “piled higher and deeper.”
Especially since World War 2, government has gotten vastly bigger and involved in everything. Huge mistake…
The government’s role is simple—to protect people from coercion: protection from domestic coercion, which implies the police force; protection from transnational coercion, which implies an army; and providing justice within the country, which implies a judicial system.
The government shouldn’t do anything else.
But since it’s now involved in absolutely everything, you need “experts” to decide what’s to be done.
We see this today with people like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who’s nothing more than a lifelong bureaucrat. He’s lived in the swamp his entire life, and he’s a typical technocrat. He believes he knows what’s best for you.
People like Fauci have assumed tremendous power over other people and the way society works. He’s a clever politician and has been effective at backslapping and backstabbing. And wheedling his way into a high bureaucratic position. The government is full of people like him.
Another important thing about COVID is that they call it a “health crisis.”
That’s untrue for several reasons. First, health is something that you take care of yourself. It’s personal, not public. As wonderful and as advanced as medicine has become, it’s of little use for maintaining your health.
You maintain your health through proper diet, exercise, and good habits. Medicine is about repairing damage if you have a serious injury or illness. It overlaps, obviously, but is essentially very different from health care.
Anyway, COVID has been dressed up as an excuse to not just destroy the economy, but in many ways, destroy society itself. Similar to global warming, Keynesianism, Marxism, and other forms of scientism.
It’s one of many signs of how society is degrading at an accelerating rate.
I don’t know what the next massive boondoggle is going to be after this is over. You might recall the police state pictured in the excellent movie “V for Vendetta” was brought into being because of a fake virus epidemic. Talk about life imitating art! If things keep going in this direction, the US will start looking like the old USSR.
International Man: Society is degrading at an accelerating pace. What can people do to protect themselves?
Doug Casey: Unfortunately, the whole world seems to worship democracy. Democracy, however, is really just mob rule dressed in a coat and tie. Worse, that trend is not only still in motion, but it’s accelerating.
What can you do to protect yourself? It’s becoming a situation of sauve qui peut—every man for himself. That’s where gold comes in.
I’ve always been a fan of gold—always for savings and often as a speculation. It’s been great, and gold bugs have done very well. It’s gone from $35 to over $1,700. And it’s going much higher.
It’s a great way to save money and build capital over time. At the moment, I’m speculating in gold mining stocks, which are extremely cheap. I expect the next mania to be in them.
But I don’t have any political solutions for people, except to stop looking to politics as the solution to problems. And stop acting like a bunch of chimpanzees looking for a leader.
Politics is the problem, the cause of most of today’s problems. It’s not the solution.